5 Male Anime Douchebags

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A while back on Otaku Lounge I wrote an article about my personal top five most hated female anime characters. In the interest of evening things out between the sexes a little, this article is a continuation of sorts, but with a slight difference – my top five male anime douchebags.

A quick note: I’m not interested in flat-out evil characters – obviously psychopathic serial killers and monster aliens out to destroy the world. For this reason I’ll be discounting, for example, most of the main villains of Dragon Ball Z, Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII, Naruto’s Orochimaru, and Knives from Trigun. I’m also steering away from characters whose sole reason for being jerks lies in revenging loved ones, paying back terrible injustices, or attempting to right corrupt societies, i.e. Douchebags With a Cause such as Lelouch from Code Geass, Light from Death Note, and Speed Grapher’s Suitengu. Nope, this particular countdown is all about the characters who act like total assholes mostly just because they can.

5. Kurono Kei – Gantz

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17-year old Kurono starts off the countdown at the number five spot. The all-powerful magic 8 ball known as Gantz originally refers to him as ‘bitch’ and ‘loser’, and it’s not especially difficult to see why. Apathetic and self-centered in the extreme, Kurono’s many talents include repeatedly fantasising about seeing school teachers in lingerie, getting erections at really awkward times, and keeping emotionally unstable women as ‘pets’. While his character does evolve more in the manga as well as in the live-action adaptation, Kurono remains a selfish and rather perverted character throughout much of the anime. Gantz creator Oku Hiroya reportedly designed his character with audience identification in mind, but if this is the case, I already don’t want to know anything more about the manga readers.

4. Nearly every male character from Revolutionary Girl Utena

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So many asshats, so little time. It’s hard to know where to start with Utena, since there are numerous characters who display such obvious douchebag tendencies. There’s student council president Touga, resident playboy extraordinaire who also enjoys playing head games with pretty much everyone, but especially our titular character. Then there’s vice-president Saionji, who’s prone to random outbursts of anger and has a nasty habit of bitch-slapping young women. Top series douchebag award should probably go to academy chairman Akio though, mostly because he’s even more egotistical than Saionji and his sexual conquests include (but are clearly not limited to) the following characters: Utena herself, Touga, his own fiancée Kanae, Kanae’s mother, and of course his own sister Anthy. What a guy.

3. Bando – Elfen Lied

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You know you’re got yourself a winner when you see a soldier backhand a secretary for ‘sneaking up on him’ when she brings him a cup of tea. More than a tad trigger-happy, Bando’s particular brand of honour is more or less overridden by his homicidal inclinations. I’d probably give the man props for getting right back into the fray after having his left arm horrendously broken, his right arm lopped off at the elbow, and his eyes gouged out if I didn’t know it was only because of his compulsive need to indulge in any kind of violence whatsoever. One could argue that Bando’s character is vindicated when he finally dies in Mayu’s arms after his own remaining one is ripped off and his body cut in half at the waist, but I’m not sure that really excuses the countless people he no doubt mocked, maimed and murdered in the past just because he felt like it. Good times.

2. Vegeta – Dragon Ball Z

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Huzzah for genocidal maniacs. It would be simple to discount Vegeta from this list by reason of insanity (and some might claim he falls into the (Douchebag With a Cause category), but he’s just too coldly logical for me to write him off as a complete psychopath or revenge fighter that easily. Vegeta’s ridiculously inflated sense of superiority is matched only by the fact that his hobbies include blowing up whole planets for shits and giggles. And his own partner for being too weak to defeat the main character. And defenceless alien villages in order to obtain a certain golden sphere. Etc. etc. Incredibly, he marries Bulma and has two kids later on in the series, but never quite manages to lose his distorted ego… despite not once managing to defeat Goku, or any of the main antagonists of the show either for that matter. His new status as family man also doesn’t seem to prevent him from being jerks to absolutely everyone, including his own wife and son. Great stuff.

1. Ikari Gendo, Neon Genesis Evangelion

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Proving that his douchebaggery can indeed stand the test of time, the number one spot has to go to this guy. Gendo will do anything – and I do mean absolutely anything – to achieve his goals, and in the anime dictionary it will be his picture you’ll see next to ‘God complex’. The phrase ‘distant father figure’ doesn’t even begin to touch upon Gendo’s relationship (or rather lack thereof) with Shinji, and by the time his past sexual relationship with Akage Naoki and his current one with Naoki’s own daughter Ritsuko was revealed, I had ceased to become surprised at any of his actions… although the nature of his relationship with Rei could be viewed as more than a little disturbing, given how much she physically resembles Gendo’s dead wife. Ironically, while in the Rebuild films other characters seem much softened compared to their original television series personas – Rei is less icily unattached, Asuka is less abusively hostile, even Shinji isn’t quite as socially inept – Gendo is just as much of an asshole as he always was. (On that note, I only just discovered the Facebook page Gendo Ikari For President: You Can (Not) Dislike the other day. Do give it a look if you’re as easily amused as I apparently am.)

Question of the post: Would you add anyone else to this list? Do you like any of these types of characters despite their douchebaggery?

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33 thoughts on “5 Male Anime Douchebags

  1. I don’t know about you but I loved Vegeta… He had a troubled life which made him become the way he is. He’s a fallen Prince. He’s royalty… Obviously he’s going to have an ego…

    And despite his ego, he was willing to throw it away in order to fuse with Goku to defeat Buu so give him some credit.

    He did some despicable things but everybody loves a bad guy when he comes to the good side and he never gives up on becoming stronger than Goku so you got to give him credit for that as well. Everybody loves a tryer.

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    • I know that Vegeta’s quite a popular character among the fandom. Personally I don’t feel the need to give him credit for anything much, but I can certainly see why other people might want to.

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  2. Oh man your descriptions cracked me up! 10/10

    Another obvious douchebag that didn’t seem to make this list would be Izaya Orihara from Durarara. I liked him, but damn, was he an asshole.

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    • Ooh, nice choice! I had completely forgotten about him – and I can just picture that guy kicking a puppy for no other reason than he just felt like it. (For all that, I quite liked him as a character, even though I don’t like any of the characters I ended up picking for my top 5. Go figure.)

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  3. Yeah, Bando…Bando. I’d also add Makoto from “School Days.” King of womanizers and the kicker is he doesn’t gloat or have any pride. He just seems to not understand that what he does is wrong. “It’s nothing personal; my physical desires are more important than integrity and your emotions, that’s all.” Got his what-for, too.

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  4. Wait, Artemis-chan, I must call shenanigans on Gendo Ikari. He’s the prototypical “Villain with a Cause” – Erm, anyone who hadn’t watched NGE, HERE BE SPOILERS – Just like Lelouch’s parents in Code Geass, he’s trying to implement instrumentality because 1. He thinks it’s the only way to save mankind, due to the prophecies. 2. The only way living as humans will be worth it, just like Lelouch’s parents, the instrumentality will bring “peace”. 3. And this is a very common motivation for villains – by bringing about Instrumentality, he will no longer be separated from his dead wife, no one will have to be apart from their loved ones. Also, Rei being similar to his wife? It’s because she’d been cloned from her, of course they look similar :3

    His relationship with Shinji? Making everyone suffer? Like other shows with a way to undo the past (see also Fairy Tail), villains with a cause in such worlds are willing to do ever more horrible things, with the belief that once they achieve their goal, since it’ll all be “undone”, then it will be worth it. The more horrible things they do? The more horrible things they will do, because the higher the “tab” is, the more desperate they are to achieve their goal and erase it all.

    I’ve watched about 3 episodes of Utena, and yeah, everyone there is a jerk 😛

    Biggest douche? He’s been designed to be a douche, sadly, his character literally has no redeeming qualities – Sugou in Sword Art Online – he molests Asuna when she can’t resist, tells her he’ll rape her unable to resist body in the sleeping world then show it to her, impales Kirito and forces him to watch, as he feels pain, etc. He’s a bit too much of a cliched jerk. He’s a bad character, as a result. Gendo Ikari though is a good character.

    There are more such characters, but since they’re designed to have zero redeeming qualities, I don’t actually enjoy them as characters – Angela in Kuroshitsuji (sometimes a male :P), the main antagonist in Mai-HiME who becomes a girl’s brother every 400 years in order to emotionally manipulate her, has other girls fall for him, and then subjugates them for hundreds of years, etc.

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    • Totally forgot about that Sugou, that douche-bag. I felt like entering the anime myself and killing that guy. That how much of a bastard he was… The amount of hatred I managed to build for that guy in such a short time.

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    • Agreed, Gendo would be the ultimate in “Douchebag with a Cause,” wouldn’t he? He has absolutely no qualms and will do anything to reunite with his wife via his version of the Human Instrumentality Project, with no regard to what even his dead wife would think of his actions (and reject him she did!) As for his relationship with Shinji, he secretly feels inadequate and thus never tried to be a proper father to him. His final conversation in End of Evangelion pretty much sums up his true feelings:

      Gendou: I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. I can finally see you again, Yui… With me, I will just keep hurting Shinji. So, it’s better to do nothing.
      Yui: You’re actually afraid of Shinji, aren’t you…
      Gendou: I don’t believe I can love people. I don’t have that quality.
      Kaworu: This is only an appearance. Before you hurt yourself, you reject the entire world.
      Yui: Between one person and another, there is no solid object blocking us from seeing one another.
      Rei: Afraid, so you just close your heart to others.
      Gendou: So this is my punishment? Sorry, Shinji.

      While this doesn’t excuse his monstrous actions in the least, at least they’re not petty, and certainly there is no evidence of him deriving any enjoyment from them. He is a hurting and broken human being, just like the rest of the cast of Evangelion.

      That doesn’t stop fans from portraying Gendo as a memetic badass magnificent bastard or a pimp.

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      • As I said to Guy, I agree that he has a cause. Behind the cause though, I think Gendo’s still a douchebag. There’s probably no way of telling for sure, but I firmly believe that were his cause taken away from him, Gendo would still be the same type of man he is in the anime – a total asshat.

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    • I’ll happily agree that Gendo has a cause, but I don’t think that’s the actual reason behind his general douchebaggery. I think he uses his cause as an excuse, but deep down (or not so deep down as the case may be) he’s just an asshole. Flashbacks that took place before many of the big… let’s say, events, would seem to indicate this fact.

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  5. I KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO BE AWESOME AS SOON AS I SAW THE TITLE!

    Gendo for no. 1 douchebag… Yup, good choice. As a character, I find him interesting, but as a person, he pretty much fails. I’m not too familiar with the other characters in your list apart from Kei Kurono. Is the anime based off the first few volumes of the manga? He did mellow later on in the manga, but damn he was the biggest dickhead ever.

    I also nominate Sugou/Oberon from SAO and Ali al-Saachez from Gundam 00, two characters which I loathe.

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  6. VEGETA?! Ah come on! He’s just a dude with a plan, who has a hobby of busting heads.

    I kid.

    I’m actually quite familiar with every character on this list. That even includes Bando, even if I didn’t finish Elfen Lied because I thought it was a terrible show. It’s amazing how Gendo’s status has stood the test of time. And it’s amazing that in a show that is famous for having almost nothing but irredeemable characters, he’s the absolute worst. He’s so bad, that when I look at Shinji, I imagine he’s what Hitler’s son would have been like. He’s that damned horrible. Maybe more than Shinji, Rei, Asuka or even the Evas themselves; he may be Neon Genesis Evangelion’s most lasting legacy.

    Lastly, as a guy I have to admire Akio’s list of accomplishments. His sexual conquests are legendary! His scum-baggery was enough to put him on the Mt. Rushmore of terrible dudes.

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    • I’m not a big fan of Elfen Lied either. I did manage to finish it, but the show was a bit painful to watch at times. As a whole, I think it just didn’t live up to its potential.

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  7. Kei?! You can’t discount all of his badassery just because of his minute perverseness in the beginning of the manga! The perverted part of him was never overboard especially when you compare him to other protagonists of seinen manga. He only kept someone in his room by the premise that she was his ‘pet’ so that she would have a place to stay– obviously he did like her in a sexual way, but in the end this only served to push forward his character development.

    Kei started off with infatuation with an ideal gorgeous girl that he could never obtain, which struck him back down to reality, making the flow more natural when he decided to stay with a more homely and pure-hearted girl, Tae, that truly brought him happiness. Most of his character motivation and reason for wanting to fight and survive was because of Tae; he fought to protect her. Meanwhile he did acknowledge the fact that he needed to save the other civilians before saving Tae, because ‘the strong cannot choose who they want to protect’. That isn’t selfish.

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    • I’m not discounting anyone’s badassery – I’m just pointing out that Kei’s pretty much an asshole. It’s certainly possible to be both. That aside, keeping someone as a ‘pet’, regardless of the reason, doesn’t excuse anyone in my books, and I highly doubt you’d have the same reaction if this actually happened in real life.

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      • This brings up an interesting point, note how your female list is “worth hating” while for men it’s “douchebags”, which isn’t always the same thing.

        But what I was thinking of here was a point someone recently made on reddit – Haruhi Suzumiya. Were she a male, we’d all be crying to high heavens about what a bully she is, but since she’s a girl, we sort of excuse/smooth over, or at least don’t react as strongly to her actions.

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        • That point is another really interesting one that probably warrants its own post, so I shant get into that here – which is not to say that I disagree. Mainly however, the intention of this particular post was nothing more than to poke a bit of light-hearted fun.

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  8. It’s almost inevitable that Gendo was number one, right? 14 years after I first watched Evangelion, I feel he’s an even more horrid person than I did at first.

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    • Same here – every time I watch Evangelion, I hate Gendo just a little more. Which just goes to show how good his character is in terms of how he’s presented to the audience, I suppose.

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    • I’ve definitely always seen Darcia as a Douchebag With a Cause. He doesn’t do what he does just because he likes inflicting pain for no apparent reason, or because he’s bored, or because he’s power-hungry and wants to rule the world for funsies. He’s just constantly tormented by Hamona’s sickness/eventual death and is basically driven completely insane by it.

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  9. Makoto from school days boy was he ever an ass every time he talked moved or breathed air I just wanted to strangle him that bastard ugh he just gives me a headache.

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  10. Has anyone stoped to consider Danzo Shimura from Naruto?! Spare me the “Any anime is better than Narutard” and remember, this guy was one of the most wicked fucks in existence. *Mild Spoilers*
    He caused or helped nearly every negative thing that happened in the entire series, without naming specific events, this guy handily takes the cake as biggest douche in the universe!

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    • I’ll have to take your word for it – I don’t particularly care who likes Naruto and who doesn’t, but the show just isn’t to my taste, and so I only ever watched a handful of episodes and don’t know the characters well.

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